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A Glimmer of Hope in Dismal Job Numbers

The latest release of the Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada gives a glimmer of good news for the Canadian economy. Although Canada saw a 14.1 percent drop in employment between February and May, employment numbers showed a promising 1.8 percent gain in May over April. While the unemployment rate is at a record high, this improvement reflects early signs of recovery as the economy moves toward reopening.

In this edition of Graphic Intelligence, we look at the change in employment numbers between the months of February and May of 2020 across different sectors.

Amongst sectors hit hardest by covid-19 is the accommodation and food services sector, suffering a 46.6 percent decline in employment since February. Against that dismal performance, however, May brought about a partial rebound of 6.8 percent. Construction and Manufacturing lost 16.3 and 12.8 percent, respectively, since February – they, too, showed a partial recovery in May of 6.3 and 5.5 percent.  Natural resources and wholesale and retail trade also saw significant gains in May, bringing their net losses since February to 2.9 and 16.5 percent, respectively.

Unfortunately, not all sectors enjoyed signs of a comeback in May. Business, building and other support services continued to lose jobs, for a total loss of 16.3 percent since February. Transportation and warehousing; professional, scientific and technical services; agriculture; and public administration all continued to lose jobs in May as well.

While these numbers still reflect significant employment losses in Canada, partial rebounds in some sectors reflect the potential for recovery as the economy moves toward reopening.